19-year-old Thai outfoxes attacking Yip
Dev S Sukumar
Porntip Buranaprasertsuk, she of the unpronounceable name, stole the hearts of badminton aficionados on the semifinals day of the India Open Superseries. The 19-year-old Thai entered the final after tying the attacking Yip Pui Yin in knots with an immaculate display of deceptive badminton. Porntip will take on Bae Youn Joo of Korea in the final on Sunday.
In the men’s singles, 34-year-old Peter Gade staved off Park Sung Hwan, while No.1 Lee Chong Wei looks set for his third Superseries title this year after breezing past Hu Yun.
The mixed doubles final will be an all-Indonesian affair, with Fran Kurniawan/ Pia Zebediah taking on Tantowi Ahmad/ Lilyana Natsir. In the men’s doubles, top seeds Koo and Tan bit the dust against Noriyasu/ Hashimoto. The Japanese will take on Indonesians Angga Pratama/ Ryan Saputra in the final.
If the Gade-Park match was about power, pace and supreme athleticism, Porntip’s match against Yip featured two very different styles. The Hong Kong player is almost masculine in the way she jump-smashes, and her relentless attacking play makes her a formidable rival. She brought these qualities to the match early, attacking and smashing at every opportunity. Porntip, who plays a less spectacular game, stayed level with her intelligent placements, forcing Yip to scurry around. From 10-all, suddenly the Thai hit a high, taking eight points on the trot as the Hong Kong player began to get desperate and errors flowed from her racquet. Yip kept glancing anxiously at her coach, but there was no respite as the elegant Thai outfoxed her with deft touches and deceptive half-smashes that kept her scrambling.
Yip fared even worse in the second game as Porntip had her on a leash. The Thai girl’s control, variety and intelligent shotmaking would’ve warmed the hearts of the small but noisy crowd.
Her opponent in Sunday’s final, Bae Youn Joo, was stretched by Sayaka Sato and told the press she was confident of winning the final. “I am happy to have won and focused on winning my first-ever Superseries final,” the Korean said. “I believe I have a very good chance of winning the title as well. This is my third time qualifying for a Superseries final and after losing twice, I want to make amends.
“I am confident of winning because I have beaten Porntip several times in the past. This has given me more confidence. Although she has improved over the past few months I still believe I can win.”
Earlier, Peter Gade held off a strong challenge from fellow-veteran Park Sung Hwan in the second game, to nose through in straight games, 21-15 21-19. Everything went the Dane’s way in the firs game, catching the Korean frequently with his cross-court placements. Park tried to up the pace in the second game, and Gade was in trouble as Park strung up a 12-6 lead. The Dane fought desperately and managed to catch up, and then Park erred with the court at his mercy. Gade went up for the first time in the second game, and even though Park made a belated charge, the Dane wrapped things up quickly.
MS: 3- Peter Gade bt Park Sung Hwan 21-15 21-19; 1-Lee Chong Wei bt Hu Yun 21-11 21-15
WS: Porntip B bt 4-Yip Pui Yin 21-13 21-8; 3-Bae Youn Joo bt Sayaka Sato 23-21 15-21 21-12
MD: Noriyasu/ Hashimoto bt 1-Koo/ Tan 21-16 21-19; Angga Pratama/ Ryan Saputra bt Alven Yulianto/ Hendra Gunawan 21-23 21-18 21-14
WD: Miyuki Maeda/ Satoko Suetsuna bt Greysia Polii/ M Jauhari 25-23 21-8
XD: Tantowi/ Lilyana bt Rijal/ Debby Susanto 21-17 15-9 retd; Fran Kurniawan/ Pia Z bt Chan Peng Soon/ Liu Ying Goh 21-12 21-16